Wed | Jun 23, 2021

Gimme that old-time religion!

Published:Sunday | May 27, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Daniel Thwaites

Daniel Thwaites, Contributor

The Reverend Peter Garth has emerged with a lobby called the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS). It describes itself as "a determined group of individuals which has decided to tackle the forces that undermine today's family, and thus threaten the health of tomorrow's society".

The coalition members also describe themselves to be the "cultural watchmen and bearers of God's love and truth, operating under the belief that a society's health - in the broadest sense - cannot exceed that of its smallest grouping, the family".

The JCHS has put out a list of 10 'affirmations' it hopes will guide the State, including:

"2) We affirm that monogamous heterosexual marriage is the only form of partnership approved by God ... .

3) We firmly oppose sexual relations outside a faithful, monogamous, marital relationship, whether those relationships are premarital, extramarital, homoerotic, or purchased.

4) We affirm God's love and concern for all humanity ... but believe homoerotic sexual practice, prostitution, and sex outside marriage to be incompatible with the will of God as revealed in the Bible."

There's no question that one of Rev Garth's primary concerns is homosexuality, but he really wants to let the world know that he is not just a homophobe! So he is anxious to bring all of our sexual relations back to the biblically prescribed rules.

Well, I agree! We should conform our behaviour to biblical teachings, and we should conform our culture so that right action becomes more natural and expected.

Punished by death

In our new biblical regime, bestiality (Lev 20:15), rape (Deut 22: 25) and sodomy (Lev 18:22) will ALL be punished by the death sentence. Jamaica won't require much public preparation for the implementation of these laws. Those are the easy popular ones.

But adultery will also be punishable by death (Lev 20:10). We may have a slightly more difficult time with that. But staying true to biblical teachings is no easy matter. Marriage will become a far more serious business.

We will obviously have to repeal Michael Manley's Status of Children Act and the infernal PNP will have to stop singing "No bastard nuh deh again!"Too bad for children born out of wedlock! "No one born of a forbidden union may enter the assembly of the Lord." (Deut 23:2) But soon, that won't be happening very much. A lot will change under the new system.

Some biblical rules might take a little more getting used to. If an engaged woman is raped, the new rules say that she has to resist, or else we put her to death (Deut 22:23). Plus, if a woman gets married and is found not to be a virgin, we will get rid of her, too (Deut 22:20-21). For purposes of fairness, we need to introduce a grace period for those young girls who may have 'slipped' already. Alternatively, we could have a 'grandfather clause' in the law so that only girls who are currently below age 13 or so will be killed if they are not virgins at marriage. We have to be practical.

There is debate about whether the biblical story of Onan is meant to illustrate the illegality of masturbation or of birth control. I say we play it safe and outlaw both. Onan's punishment was death, so masturbation and birth control join the list of serious crimes (Gen 38: 3-10). Luckily, we can save some foreign exchange because we won't import condoms and birth-control pills anymore.

Also, our national productivity will increase when people stop lazing around and masturbating all day. If Rev Garth wants to outlaw mental masturbation as well, whole departments at our universities might have to be shut down, but that's something we can decide on later.

Let's go overboard

Conforming our culture to biblical standards will require some additional changes. It is well known that music with an aggressive beat and bass line arouses lustful thoughts, which, in turn, leads to lascivious behaviour. So out with reggae, dancehall, soca, calypso, R&B, rock 'n' roll and, thank God, disco! This will be replaced by calm and soothing Christian music.

Do I need to even address the issue of the lyrics? No more somebody pussycat get away and it causing havoc. And no more back it up on the dumpa truck ... . Set good like de ice inna freezer. In fact, no more looking at the dumpa truck either because dress will have to be modest and appropriate at all times. Provocative clothing is prohibited under the new regime. No more of this business of the young girls and boys going around looking like strippers and gigolos. That's out!

It's probably best if we prohibit spicy foods as well. Historically, they have always been associated with lustful behaviour. Coffee, in its time, was denounced as an aphrodisiac, as were pepper and countless other foods. Pork and shellfish are out! We can establish a Board of Examiners to identify dangerous foods and set limitations, or outlaw them completely where appropriate. I nominate Rev Garth or some other suitably trained member of the new Taliban as the chief government food censor.

We can ban and block cable television. We all know the corrosive effect of American and British culture. While we're purifying, we will also have to establish a Board of Censorship that could be staffed by the various bishops, archbishops and other church leaders. Here, I would propose the Rev Al Miller as the lead cleric, but I'm not fussy. The important thing is that we get it established and they get to work, excluding the influences of the deviants.

It's time to put Jamaica back on track. All together now:

Gimme that old-time religion.

Gimme that old-time religion.

Gimme that old-time religion.

It's good enough for me!

Daniel Thwaites is a partner of Thwaites, Lundgren & D'Arcy in Westchester and Bronx counties in New York. Email feedback to